How to Pick the Right Visitor Insurance Plan for Parents Visiting the USA
For those living in the United States from abroad, either permanently or temporarily, it is still important to find time to connect with family. It is very common for parents from overseas to visit the United States to see their immigrant or nonimmigrant children. A parent’s visit from overseas can vary in duration, but is typically anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
When it comes to parents visiting from overseas, one key precaution that has to be taken is purchasing a visitors insurance plan. With age comes greater risk when it comes to traveling abroad, and the United States is notorious for its extremely high medical costs. Without proper coverage, a hospital visit for a parent could cost thousands and thousands of dollars. A visitors health insurance plan will give peace of mind and provide a safety net in the event that a parent visiting the U.S. has to seek medical care for an illness or injury.
However, with so many visitors health insurance options on the market today, it may be difficult to decide which provides the right coverage and benefits for a parent visiting the U.S. from abroad. Let’s take a look at how to pick the right visitors insurance plan for parents.
What Is Visitors Insurance?
Visitors insurance is a temporary or short-term medical insurance plan for non-U.S. residents that covers the insured for certain medical services and treatments while they are in the United States.
Most domestic health insurance plans that you may have in your home country won’t cover you for treatment abroad, which is why a visitors insurance plan is so crucial.
Understanding Common Insurance Terms
When deciding on a visitors insurance plan, you’ll likely come across some terms that are unfamiliar or unclear. Here are some of the common terms in visitors health insurance that you should become familiar with in order to make the most informed decision when it comes to purchasing a plan.
Comprehensive vs. Limited Coverage
You’ll likely notice that when choosing a visitors insurance plan, there are two main types of coverage - comprehensive and limited. While a limited plan may be more tempting as it is typically less expensive than a comprehensive plan, the lack in price equates to much less coverage. Comprehensive plans are almost always preferred, especially for parents who are more at risk while traveling abroad.
Comprehensive coverage plans offers more benefits, higher premiums, and typically include travel-related coverage. Limited plans offer only basic medical coverage and pay a predefined fixed dollar amount for each medical service. For limited plans, the policy maximum is the cumulative total of all the sublimits.
When choosing a visitors insurance plan for parents visiting the U.S., it is highly recommended to choose a comprehensive coverage plan.
Emergency Medical Evacuation
Emergency Medical Evacuation is a common benefit included in most comprehensive visitors insurance plan premium costs. If a medical emergency occurs and a hospital does not have the necessary treatment available, the insured will be airlifted or transported to the nearest hospital that has the necessary treatment available.
Learn more about emergency medical evacuation.
If your parent has a pre-existing condition, you’ll want to choose a plan that offers coverage for the worsening of or emergencies related to pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition is a health condition that existed in the policyholder before the start date of their insurance plan. Plans that offer this benefit may cover emergencies related to the worsening of pre-existing conditions which were stabilized with medications at the time of purchasing the travel medical insurance plan, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
Deductibles and Copay
A deductible is the amount that the policyholder is required to pay first in order for insurance coverage to cover expenses. A copay is the amount that is paid up front by the policyholder when receiving treatment. Typically, a lower deductible is ideal as higher deductibles can lead to high out-of-pocket costs.
Learn more about deductibles.
The policy limit is the maximum that the insurance company will be liable to pay for your covered services. Having adequate coverage is important to reduce your out-of-pocket costs. Policy maximums do tend to become more restrictive as people age. Typically, a higher policy maximum is preferred.
Learn more about policy maximums.
Repatriation is the return of remains back to one’s home country in the event of their death overseas. This can be expensive to do, so having $25,000 of coverage for this benefit is preferred.
Co-insurance is the percentage of costs of a covered health care service you pay for out-of-pocket after your deductible is met. For example, if your plan covers $100 for a doctor's visit, and your co-insurance is 20%, you will have to pay 20% of $100 as co-insurance, resulting in a $20 out-of-pocket expense.
Top Things to Consider When Purchasing a Plan for Parents
Now that you understand some of the common terms used in visitors insurance, it’s now time to weigh your options and think about what you want your parent’s visitors insurance plan to cover. Here are the top things to consider when purchasing a plan for parents visiting the U.S.:
- Make sure you choose a plan with an adequate medical coverage amount
- Choose a plan that covers the worsening of or emergencies related to pre-existing conditions that are stable with medications if the parent has pre-existing health conditions
- Comprehensive coverage plans are a better option for older travelers
- Travel-related benefits are a plus, such as trip cancellation or interruption coverage
- Limited or low cost plans often mean more out-of-pocket costs and less overall coverage
These guidelines will help you make a better decision when it comes to a visitors insurance plan for parents.
What Does Visitors Insurance NOT Cover?
Another thing to keep in mind when getting your parents visitor insurance is that it won’t cover every medical treatment and service. These are common services that typically are NOT covered by visitors insurance:
- Routine checkups or bloodwork
- Regular dental care (unless emergency)
- Vision care
- Pregnancy or maternity
- Mental health treatment
- High risk sport injuries
- Preventative care such as shots or vaccines
- Voluntary testing or visits
While these types of treatments aren’t typically covered by visitors insurance plans, these are often referred to as routine health care that can be done in your parent’s home country once they return. Visitors insurance is designed to provide coverage in the case of emergencies for unexpected injuries or illnesses while traveling.
Recommended Insurance Plans for Parents Visiting the USA
CoverAmerica - Gold
CoverAmerica - Gold is an A-rated travel medical insurance plan designed for non-U.S. residents visiting the United States. It offers comprehensive coverage to senior travelers and covers 100% of eligible medical expenses up to the policy maximum in-network after the deductible.
INF Elite is a comprehensive coverage plan that pays 80% of eligible medical conditions up to the policy maximum within the United Healthcare PPO network after the deductible is satisfied. It also offers limited coverage for pre-existing conditions. This plan is designed for any non-U.S. resident visiting the USA.
Patriot America Plus
Patriot America Plus is a comprehensive coverage plan that offers an affordable premium and a very convenient PPO network. Although the deductible can be satisfied only once per policy period, this is attractive since it covers acute onset of pre-existing conditions for ages up to 70 up to selected policy maximum.
Compare Your Options
In order to choose the best visitors insurance plan for your parents, be sure to compare your options and select a plan that has the benefits and coverage that is needed. VisitorsCoverage allows you to compare, get quotes, and purchase a plan all in one place.
Make sure your parents are protected against the unexpected during their travels to the U.S. with a visitors health insurance plan. It is always better to be covered in the unlikely event of an injury or illness rather than to regret not purchasing a plan and owing thousands of dollars in medical bills.